DC has announced a huge slate of new movies reaching all the way out until 2020, the year of the Presidential election after 2016! (I think Chelsea Clinton will be old enough to run by then.)
Here they are:
2016 Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad
2017 Wonder Woman, Justice League – Part One
2018 Aquaman, The Flash
2019 Shazam, Justice League – Part Two
2020 Cyborg, Green Lantern
As a Master Nerd myself (thanks to my fourth grade soccer coach for the title), I know, exactly, the difference between DC and Marvel. But I realize most people probably don’t. They are two different comic book companies that have existed, in one form or the other, since the ’30s. Marvel has been going out of their way to brand everything, no matter how awkward it is — Marvel’s The Avengers, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — but DC has been following Ron Burgundy’s philosophy of keeping it classy and having movie titles like just The Dark Knight or just The Man of Steel. But I bet to most people, those producer credits at the beginning of the movie are as meaningless as the guy with the telescope or the one with the robot in the field. Most people don’t care about who is producing a movie! I’ve never heard anyone say, “I only see Universal movies because studio chief Ron Meyer will not let me down.”
By the way, did I just give DC credit for movie names? Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a hilariously bad title. That’s going to look bad on the McDonald’s collectible cup, DC friends.
Anyway, ask your local nerd about Marvel and DC? They might have something to say. I know I do.
Actually, I think everyone cares a little. Remember that Will Smith movie Hancock? It was so weird that it wasn’t from a comic book. I saw it and thought it was okay. But it is strange how a childhood investment in a character changes the way you see a movie. Hancock had to work hard to keep my interest. The Man of Steel had me immediately and would only lose me if Superman does something crazy, like, I don’t know, break someone’s neck. Same goes for My Super Ex-Girlfriend or even The Greatest American Hero, they have to win me. The outfits look silly for one thing. The characters lack depth. Something is just off. Obviously, on some level, Superman’s outfit is just as silly, the characters shallow, or something’s off. But because we’ve been seeing him since we were kids, we don’t think about it anymore. So your brand name super heroes — Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America — we unconsciously accept the outfits and premise.
I also think we’re getting a little crazy with the announcements of the future. 2020? My baby, who can’t walk or talk, will be seven when Green Lantern comes out. Although, I get it. They want to show the Master Nerds that they have a plan and are in it for the long haul. And you know something about Junior? He will have no memory of the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern (I’m certainly not telling him about it) to taint his appreciation of the reboot, so that’s probably part of the plan, although it’s weird to know the plan. I’m assuming that GL will be introduced in one of the other movies. I’m guessing, Justice League Part Two in 2019. Since I’m wagering, I’ll go with Jon Stewart GL.
I mentioned the difference between Marvel and DC? Marvel is new to the movie game and hungry. They have a plan, zero theme parks, and corporate overseers who appear to be familiar with their brand. Time Warner owns DC and I bet you some of these movies get pushed back or cancelled. DC is notorious for announcing movies and not following through. Darren Aronofsky, a respected filmmaker who won an oscar for Black Swan, had an unmade Batman movie in development for years before Christopher Nolan made Batman Begins. Joss Whedon wasted years and years trying to get a Wonder Woman movie off the ground. One of these movies will fail — [cough] Aquaman [cough] — and Time Warner’s overlords will rethink their plan.
We’ve known about Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice for a while. But that’s a Batman movie so I will be there with Bat rosary beads, praying that it is good. By the by, I bet Ben Affleck is one of the best parts about it. (Hell, I’m not going to do these movies one-by-one. I will probably eventually see and enjoy all of these movies. Yes, world, even Aquaman. But maybe not all in the theater. Some of them will be terrible.)
I’m going to give DC a lot of credit for going deep into their bench. Suicide Squad? Perennial joke Aquaman? Shazam? Fricking Cyborg? Even ruined franchise opportunity Green Lantern back for another go? I’m excited about these movies, just very vaguely. And finally, finally a Wonder Woman movie? That’s probably the thing I’m most excited about. And I pray to Hera that it is thoughtfully made. Did anyone read the Greg Rucka run on Wonder Woman? Excellent.
Roger Ebert had a theory that James Bond movies could only be as good as their villains and I think that the villains will be just as important as the heroes in all these movies, except Batman vs. Superman, which has Batman in it. Who will be the villain in a Wonder Woman movie? Does Cyborg even have a nemesis? I hope DC are as willing to go as creative with their villains as they seem to be with their heroes.
And hell, Roget Ebert probably thought that movies have to be actually good movies rather than just spectacles. The 2011 Green Lantern had a huge fight with an amorphous blob which just couldn’t have been less interesting. And I think Ryan Reynolds was great in that movie, it was just a trilogy — training, Hector Hammond, Parallax — in one movie. And Mark Strong as Sinestro? Awesome. Even though it was funny that a guy named “Sinestro” wasn’t a bad guy.
Hey, wasn’t Carol Ferris in Man of Steel? We’ve already begun Green Lantern world building. (She’s Hal Jordan’s girlfriend in the Green Lantern universe.)
I think the most valuable lesson Marvel learned was on one of their least successful outings, The Incredible Hulk, which is an okay movie. They actually let Ed Norton rewrite the damn movie to its detriment, like in the last season, when the kids started to have input on The Brady Brunch plots and wanted more stories about candy and dancing. And that’s why “actor” actors like Mickey Rourke complain about being in Marvel movies. Marvel only care about the story, not what emotions the actors want to explore. If Mickey had his way, I bet Iron Man 2 would have been called Whiplash and His Bird. I’m not saying that DC are idiots or anything. I’m sure that they know not to let the actors have too much power. But they’ve already cast The Rock as Black Adam in 2019’s Shazam movie. Casting The Rock means that we might have a situation like that Batman movie where Arnold Schwarzenegger basically took over as Mr. Freeze. And don’t get me wrong, I love Black Adam. But it’s a red flag.
And because we only know the titles, we have no idea what is going on. We don’t know who is going to be in the Justice League. And Suicide Squad? That could mean just about anything. The squad changes rosters sometimes from issue-to-issue and have been around forever. I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that Harley Quinn is on the Suicide Squad though. Deathstroke? Probably, although they might go with his daughter. Deadshot? Good bet.
DC seems to be reacting to Marvel’s shared universe and “plan” for their films, although I suspect that Marvel do more “on the fly” then they pretend. Sometimes those “Hey, the Hulk and Iron Man live near each other” moments were pretty forced. And ultimately, I think the DC/Marvel demarcation does not matter at all to the average movie goer. Like Spider-Man is a Marvel character, but Sony makes the movies. I’ve explained it to my wife, the beautiful Kelly, like 40 times, but I think it’s difficult for her to care who makes the movies. She’s probably right. And the announcement means basically nothing until we learn a little bit more about these movies. Who is directing? Who is writing? The main question is, will these movies be any good? High hopes, low expectations for some of them — [cough] Aquaman [cough]. But I’m pleased to see that DC is bringing out some of their excellent characters for a romp on the big screen and I’m going to try to keep an open mind.
Hell, did anyone read the Peter David Aquaman run? It was awesome!